This Week in Ontario Edublogs

There’s nothing better than the summer time. On the voicEd Radio show, it’s a time to invite co-hosts who would actually be working during the school year. This past week, the EduGals (Rachel Johnson and Katie Attwell) were awesome on the show.


And, we led off the show talking about what I would have predicted would have been their latest post. As it turned out, they used the beginning of the summer to create lots of new content but we went with this.

Many educators are interested in getting Google Certification – there are so many different levels and topics that exist to make you a better use of Google software.

The topic for this one was simply, Gmail. For many people, email is just sort of this necessary evil that is thrust on them. But, once you start digging as Katie and Rachel have done, there is a great deal that can be done with Gmail to enhance your productivity. I don’t consider myself a novice when it comes to Gmail but I’m never afraid to learn even more. There were some things in here that I think most people would find helpful to read and practice.

  • How to use stars to get organized
  • Understanding the different inbox types (especially priority inbox)
  • Using the search tools in Gmail
  • Creating and using labels
  • How to create and use filters

It should come as no surprise that search in Gmail can be just as powerful on your content as it is on the web.

This is the first of a number of posts promised over the summer about Google Certification. So, if you’re interested read it. If you’re just interested in becoming more proficient with Gmail, certainly use that as your inspiration as well.

Summer 2021

From the ETFO Heart and Art blog, Melissa Turnbull shares with us ten things to think about for the summer – sans technology.

I love the whole list and I’m looking forward to doing most of these things. I’m not sure about yoga but my top three would be:

  • Donate gently used clothes to charity
  • Support local restaurants/markets and businesses
  • Go on a road trip

I’ve already done the first one and miss my favourite shorts. Check.

We took the dog to Belle River over the lunch hour and had lunch at a restaurant there. Check. (This will be ongoing since we have so many great restaurants in town)

I can’t wait for this to happen. Since COVID and lockdowns started, I think we’ve left Essex County twice.

Being Open-Minded to Mental Math

I love Alice Aspinall’s approach to Mathematics. She’s open and honest.

In this post, she talks about different way to do mental math calculations. There’s her way (which is my way) and then methods used from an eight year old and a six year old.

I know old timers reminisce about the good old days of mathematics. We absolutely were taught strategies that seem old school now. But, we got the answers and were damn proud of ourselves for doing so.

It’s easy to take cheap shots at the “new math”. After all, if the “old math” was good enough for us, it’s good enough for them. But look closer.

It seems to me that it was so important for us to get the right answer. We had algorithms and we knew how to use them. If you read the thinking Alice shares from the eight year old and the six year old, it’s clear that those two aren’t just going for the correct answer; they understand a great deal of mathematics concept to get there. Of course, we can look at these solutions and with a little algebra could deconstruct the thinking. The important thing though, is that they understand the algebra concepts without actually having to learn them as such.

To me, that’s a higher level of thinking and problem solving. As for mental mathematics, it’s a worth activity. My dad used to do it with us all the time. Driving along, how long will it take us to get to the next town at our current speed?

Alice is worth following on Instagram as “everyonecanlearnmath” as she shares images and puzzles about mathematics from her real life. Definitely the images and questions are classroom ready.

Friday Two Cents:  I’m Here For You

Maybe it’s the sign of the COVID times, but we need to start with a shoutout to Paul Gauchi – this was the first time as an occasional teacher that he worked every day. That’s pretty amazing in itself.

The life of an occasional teacher can be bizarre moving from staff room to staff room but there would be time where you might get called in for a long term appointment and actually get a chance to meet the other educators.

That was the thing that Paul notes as missing in the work from home reality. There was no staff room to drop in to to have those random supportive conversations. You were indeed in isolation. The consequences?

“Only an educator understands what another educator has gone through.”

I might add a qualifier – often an educator’s partner knows as well.

Paul just wants you to know that he’s there if you need someone to talk to…


Amanda Potts had put herself in a position that not everyone can and has a couple of individuals her “cooperating teachers” and her “supervisor” that had an opportunity to assess her strengths and areas of growth. That was a long time ago but she’s recently thought about it.

I like the fact that she wants to reflect on all that she’s been through. I think that everyone should be doing that just to keep their sanity and plan for next steps.

In the post, she discusses how difficult that she is finding that to be.

Is it too soon to reflect?

Is it too late to reflect?

I’ve got to believe that she’s not the only person wrestling with this question.

Poetry Invites July

Jessica Outram is editing a very interesting project. If you pride yourself a writer of poetry, then you might wish to consider contributing to this project.

Each month, she issues a topic and encourages all those who wish to write poetry to contribute. She’s putting all the submissions together into a collection which she shares online here.

To date, there are some very powerful contributions.


This month you are invited to write a poem about summer. Let’s show our gratitude for the beach, the lake, the trails for hiking, the marina, the farm fresh produce, the festivals, and the time with family and friends. We are lucky to live in a place that thrives in summertime.

Companions in Shipwreck

It’s Diana Maliszewski’s 24th anniversary! Congratulations to James and her.

Who would have thought of writing a blog post to celebrate? Diana maintains her streak of being unpredictable.

And, who else but a teacher-librarian would being in an article from Time and a quote from J.R.R. Tolkien to seal the deal with the post.

To celebrate this special 24th, she’s, well, you have to read the post to find out how things are celebrated in her world.

It kind of makes you wonder what will happen for her 25th.

Please take a few moments and click through to read all these wonderful posts.

Then, follow these bloggers on Twitter.

  • EduGals – @EduGals
  • Alice Aspinall – @aliceaspinall
  • Paul Gauchi – @PCMalteseFalcon
  • Amanda Potts – @Ahpotts
  • Jessica Outram – @jessicaoutram
  • Diana Maliszewski – @MzMollyTL

This week’s voicEd Radio show is available here.


OTR Links 07/09/2021

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.